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Category: GIFs

5 Obscure Gifs That Surprisingly Took The World By Storm

We all love gifs, and most of us use them on a daily basis. In fact, some people use them as a form of communication when words simply won’t describe how they’re feeling in that very moment. While the pronunciation of gif is a hot topic of debate, there’s no doubt that gifs are universally loved, and the internet would not be the same without them.

There are certain gifs that have become so popular over the years, though, that people use them without thinking about their origin. Today, we’re going to do a little bit of internet history behind some of our favorite gifs. How did one obscure part of something grander become the most popular part through the power of gifs? Here are five obscure gifs that surprisingly took over the internet and how they came to be.

Michael Jackson Popcorn

Michael Jackson is by no means obscure himself. After all, the late singer was dubbed “The King of Pop”. Not only that, but Jackson’s video for “Thriller” in 1982 was one of the most successful music videos of all-time, and it came from the highest-selling album in music history. There is one part of the music video that was an afterthought when it was shot, though, and that’s Jackson munching away vigorously on a handful of popcorn.

In the music video, it’s a very brief shot, but the internet has used it as a staple for reaction gifs. When you see two people arguing and don’t want to enter the argument yourself, you simply post the Jackson gif to show that you’re eating popcorn and enjoying the show while the internet rage commences. 

Robert Redford Nodding

When you wholesomely agree with what someone is saying or doing on the internet, there’s a good chance that you’ve responded with a bearded man and long hair slowly nodding in the wilderness as a smile slowly forms on his face. The gif has become a thing of legend, and it’s actually a gif of one of the most popular actors of all time.

The lumberjack-esque actor is none other than Robert Redford, who looks almost completely unrecognizable with the beard and hair combo. The gif comes from the 1972 film “Jeremiah Johnson”, with Redford playing the titular character who fought in the Mexican War before residing in the mountains to get away from it all.

Supa Hot Fire

Have you ever looked at a message board or social media post and witnessed someone get absolutely roasted? There’s a good chance, then, that you’ve seen the gif of a stoic man surrounded by his friends who are hyping him up while one man in particular is so stunned by what was said that he walks away with his hands holding his head.

This gif comes from the character Supa Hot Fire, and the original video was completely satirical. The video shows a rap battle that’s obviously bad in quality, and the hyped-up reactions are simply for show. The five-minute video showed the overreactions that people have during rap battles in 2011 and the video caught (supa hot) fire, with the gif remaining a legend of the internet.

Homer Backs Away

We’ve all seen conversations on the internet that we want no part of. We’ve also been completely wrong on topics, only to be exposed by others fact-checking us. When that happens, you might just want to back away into some shrubbery and hope that nobody sees you again. For that occasion, Homer Simpson slowly backing into a hedge is the perfect way to encapsulate that feeling.

In the original episode of “The Simpsons”, Homer isn’t actually embarrassed. Instead, he’s slowly approaching his newfound friend: neighbor Ned Flanders. He creepily emerges from the bushes only to be told that the Flanders family has plans and he retracts back into the bushes to return home.

The Undertaker Rises

Have you ever had something that gets your attention to the point where you went from bored and tired to wide awake? Perhaps a party invite or the end of the work day comes to mind, and professional wrestler The Undertaker has just the gif for you. Rising from his ringside casket, The Undertaker goes from perfectly dead to wide awake in an instant.

Pro wrestling (and the WWE specifically) is ripe with gif content, especially from “The Deadman”. This particular gif comes from when Brock Lesnar opened a casket with somber music playing, only to find it empty. When he returns to the ring after confronting some druids, the Undertaker magically appears and is ready for battle.

Why Are Gifs So Popular?

On June 15, 1987, the Graphics Interchange Format was released by CompuServe thanks to computer scientist Stephen Earl Wilhite, and it changed the way we communicate forever. While Wilhite says that the pronunciation is like Jif peanut butter, many agree that it should be pronounced with a hard ‘g’. No matter what you call it, though, there’s no doubt that gifs are incredibly popular around the internet.

We use gifs as a way of communicating with one another, especially in terms of reacting to something that we’ve read or seen. No matter your age, you have almost been guaranteed to use a gif at some point when reacting. The weekend is coming up and you’re going to happy hour with the workgroup? There’s a gif for that. Your team just won and made the playoffs in their league? There’s a gif for that.

What is it about gifs that make us love them so much specifically, though? Let’s take a look at the wonderful world of gifs and see what it is that has us all obsessed and using them as a form of communication in today’s digital world.

More Than Words

One of the biggest problems with sending someone a message through text is that there is absolutely no emotion behind it. You can say “okay” in a text, and most people will think that you’re annoyed and being sarcastic, even if your “okay” is filled with enthusiasm and positivity. When you send a gif of a character emphatically saying “okay” with a lot of joy, you’re really getting your point across that you’re happy to be agreeing.

Nobody likes to read a one-word message. Science has shown that people feel like those messages are passive-aggressive, and the same goes with certain emojis like the thumbs-up or checkmark emojis. When it comes to gifs, though, you can convey a one-word message in a way that shows that you’re thinking about that person’s feelings. It’s certainly a problem that wasn’t around a couple of decades ago, but it’s just part of life now.

All Emotions

No matter what you’re feeling in that very moment, there’s a gif for that emotion. From laughing until you’re rolling around and feeling intense stomach pain to being so sick that you can’t move, there’s a gif for just about everything. Even someone that doesn’t particularly like gifs that much will probably end up using them because there are some for how they’re feeling that they can’t quite put into words.

Gifs of people laughing in particular are the ones that get the most traction on the internet. Sometimes just saying “lol” isn’t enough to show just funny you found something to be. Thanks to gifs, we can truly show just how hard we’re laughing. Comedy, despair, apathy, you name it, there’s a gif that shows exactly how you’re feeling.

Easy to Consume

You could send a video to show your reaction to something, but then someone has to open a specific app to watch it, and it might end up being too long. Gifs are much easier for someone to consume at that moment and don’t take forever to load. There are even gifs of entire movies like “Shrek” all condensed into one moving picture that can be viewed on the internet, that’s how far we’ve gotten with gifs.

The best part is that gifs can be sent in lieu of text these days because they won’t take a couple of minutes to load over wireless networks. These days, gifs are almost instantaneous, which has led to an explosion in their popularity. Remember the days of dial-up when a gif took longer to load than a YouTube video does in the current day? Thankfully that’s long done for.

Companies Want Them To Be

We’ve explained all the scientific reasons why gifs are so popular, but there’s a business aspect to it, as well. Companies like Facebook and Google have acquired gif websites like Tenor and GIPHY, and they want you to use them. Some companies pay to have their gifs show up first when you’re searching for a specific one, which is probably something that you didn’t know.

Social media pushes these gifs, though not many people are fooled into using a McDonald’s or Walmart gif just out of the blue. Still, with these companies present at the top of the search results, they’re at least getting eyes on their products.